Vallourec debuts additively manufactured equipment for offshore energy industry

April 30, 2021

Vallourec’s additively manufactured waterbushing is half the weight (220 kg) of one manufactured traditionally and has been used on the EIG Elgin-Franklin rig in the North Sea (Courtesy Vallourec)

Vallourec, headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, has equipped energy company Total, Paris, France, with an additively manufactured waterbushing for the EIG Elgin-Franklin rig in the North Sea. The component – which measures 1.2 m high and weighs 220 kg – is reported to be the first ever pressure-containing component to be produced using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), a form of wire-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED).

Waterbushings are a safety-critical component used in the oil and gas drilling industry to counter hydrocarbon kicks from wells in construction. Their strength and reliability is paramount, as failure can result in equipment destruction.

“This is the first time that a safety-critical component has been created using Additive Manufacturing in the energy industry”, stated Edwige Ravry, Additive Manufacturing Lead at Total Manufacturing. “It was essential for us to have the right partner and a good business case. Vallourec, as a longstanding partner, provided us with that confidence.”

“The project came out of an open innovation collaboration with RAMLAB, a Rotterdam-based startup,” explained Bertrand Maillon, Additive Manufacturing Business Development Manager, Vallourec. “The aim of this project was to go beyond Proof of Concept to successfully develop the Quality Assurance and Quality Control frame of supply for components using WAAM technology.”

The manufacturing process developed leveraged Vallourec’s decades-long experience in welding, metallurgy and non-destructive examination together with strengths in threading, coating and pressure testing to enable manufacturing of components to customers’ exact specifications. Vallourec worked with Total to deliver the project in just over a year using WAAM, rigorously testing the product before field deployment in February.

The use of AM offered a unique freedom of shape and lightweighting compared to traditional manufacturing; this component is around half the weight of a typical waterbushing. It is generates 45% less greenhouse gas emissions than one produced from forging and machining, something of particular interest to Total, which is aiming for, at least, a 60% reduction in its carbon impact by 2050.

Andrew Heddle, Drilling & Wells QA/QC Lead at Total Exploration & Production UK, added, “Additive Manufacturing has the potential to revolutionise the O&G supply chain by enabling companies like Total to order made-to-measure components as and when they are needed.”

Download the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Our latest issue is now available to view online or download in PDF format.

As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 204-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Mauro Antolotti and BEAMIT: The story of Italy’s leading AM parts producer and its founder’s view on the industry
  • Why do we need Women in 3D Printing? The what, the who, and the why of the blog that became a movement
  • The need for speed, and how the right powder can reduce AM part production costs by 50%
  • Metal Additive Manufacturing:
    Why standards lay the foundation for continued industry growth
  • The advantages of Additive Manufacturing for the processing of platinum group metals
  • Obstacles to the adoption of metal AM by small- and medium-sized enterprises
  • Additive Manufacturing of aluminium parts by Directed Energy Deposition: Possibilities and challenges
  • Euro PM2020 technical review: Advances in process control for metal Binder Jetting (BJT)
  • > More information

Latest news


    Sign up to our e-newsletter, sent weekly to AM professionals and end-users around the world. We'll also let you know each time a new issue of Metal AM magazine is available.

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:
    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news
    All past issues are available to download in PDF format, in either single page format or as double-page “spreads” for viewing on large monitors. All downloads are free of charge. Go to archive...

    Connect with us

    Visit our social media channels and sign up to our e-newsletter

    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap